Tuesday, March 22, 2011

natchitoches meat pies

icky picky rating: *

I have been eager to try out a new recipe and settled on this one from Our Best Bites. It didn't have too much weird stuff in it and it looked relatively easy to make.

{picture from ourbestbites.com}

So first you need to make a pie crust. I have NEVER made a pie crust and was worried about this step. But I followed the recipe from Our Best Bites and it came our FABULOUS. And if I didn't mess it up, I'm sure you won't mess it up either. They also had a nice link about cutting in shortening, and I'm glad I read that because I had no clue.

9-Inch Single Pie Crust

1 1/4c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c.+ 1 Tbsp. shortening (I prefer butter flavored but either works)
Ice water (probably about 1/4 c.)

Making the Dough
Combine flour and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Add shortening in small cubes.

Cut in shortening (room temperature) until you get pieces that are about pea-sized.

Now, this is where it gets a little tricky, but don’t be scared. Start sprinkling the ice water by about a tablespoon at a time over the flour/shortening mixture.

Very, very gently, turn the dough with your fingers so it gets exposed to the water. You’re NOT mixing, just trying to moisten all of the flour/shortening mixture. Gradually, all of the flour mixture will be moistened. Gently pat the dough into a ball (it should come together easily but not be sticky).

Wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to use.

Rolling the Dough
When you’re ready to roll out your pie crust, lightly flour your work surface and place the dough ball on the surface. One of the keys in making pie crust is to handle the dough as little as possible. Don’t freak out TOO much; like I said, this recipe for crust is pretty forgiving, but at the same time, the less you touch it, the more tender and flaky it will be. Starting in the center, roll the dough out into a circle shape, about 1/8″ thick. When you’ve reached your desired thickness, place the rolling pin in the middle and gently fold the crust over the rolling pin. Lift the dough onto your pie plate and unfold it (gently; notice a theme here?).

I made the crust and didn't roll it out until after I had finished making the meat stuff.

Recipe by Our Best Bites, adapted from Chef John Folse

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2+ tsp. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (it’s the cheapest, best, and widely available)
Tabasco sauce to taste (start with about 1/4 tsp.)
1 can beef broth
Pie Crust, tripled
1 egg
1/4 c. cold water

In a large skillet, brown ground beef and ground pork, breaking the meat into small pieces. When it’s about halfway cooked, drain excess fat (if necessary) and then add green and red peppers, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until vegetables are tender and onions are translucent. Add 2 tsp. Tony’s and 1/4 tsp. Tabasco. Add beef broth and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with additional Tony’s and Tabasco if necessary, keeping in mind that the seasonings will mellow in the pie. You can refrigerate this mixture for 3-4 days before baking the pies.

Prepare pie crust and roll the entire ball onto a floured surface. For large (meal-sized) pies, I use a bowl that’s about 6″ across the top; I just invert the bowl onto the dough and trace a knife around it to cut the dough.

Place about 1/4 c. of the meat mixture onto one half of the dough circle, keeping about a 1/2″-1″ margin from the edges.

Fold the other side over and gently pinch the edges shut.

For the decorative edge, you could crimp the edge with a fork or use your fingers to flute the edges. You could also use a calzone or empanada mold (used in these pictures).

Preheat oven to 400 and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place prepared pies onto your baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and cold water and brush over the pies.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool a few minutes and then eat as soon as humanly possible. So good. There are…no words.

Makes about 12 6″ pies or lots and lots of small (biscuit cutter) pies.

The only thing that went wrong was that I could NOT for the life of me make a pretty edge for my little pie crusts. I was lucky if I could even get them to stick closed. The ones on the Best Bites site look so pretty! Oh well.

SO... the verdict. The Meat Pies were a big fat FAIL. So disappointing.

I always have my husband taste something first and then tell me if I will like it or not... well he gave me the go ahead that no gagging should be involved. The first bite was tough knowing that there was ground pork mixed in there. SICKNAST. But I was brave and took a bite. It wasn't disgusting but wasn't great either. The pie crust was FABULOUS. I was so proud of that. But the meat mixture was pretty *meh*. The hubby and kiddos didn't care much for it either.

It could be very well due to the fact that I didn't season the meat enough. I can never tell if things are seasoned correctly. I'll think it's not and then add MORE and then it will still taste wrong and add MORE, but then my husband will tell me that it's WAY too over-seasoned and that was the problem in the first place!

So, go ahead and try the recipe! Let me know what you think.

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